Third robotic arm transforms musician into a superhuman drummer
Being a drummer is not easy and it takes a toll on your hands and fingers. All the famous drummers have however defied the odds and played all their life like super humans. Their only wish, having an extra arm so that they could bamboozle the world. For one drummer that wish has come true as researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a wearable robotic limb which functions as third arm for a drummer. This intelligent robotic arm attaches to drummer’s shoulder and it automatically switches from playing ride cymbal to the snare depending on what the drummer is playing.
This project headed by Georgia Tech Professor Gil Weinberg is funded by the National Science Foundation and aims to push the limits of an average human. Probably the idea is to use wearable robotics in conjunction with exoskeletons to drastically enhance the capabilities of human beings.
Three-armed drumming like never before!
Coming on to this robotic arm, it detects the music being played in the room and then makes the required drumming input to match the mood. It can detect the tempo and pitch of music and adapt to it dynamically. To avoid mingling the robotic arm with that of the drummer, it is loaded with built-in accelerometers to sense distance.
As the robotic arm plays the whole drum set, on-board motors ensure the drumsticks stay parallel to the playing surface. To ensure that the drum sticks strike the surface naturally, researchers have made use of human motion capture technology to replicate how a human would play the drums. And I have to admit it is any day better than the Love Machine robotic drumming team.
If you have a robotic device that is part of your body, it’s a completely different feeling from working alongside a regular robot. The machine learns how your body moves and can augment and complement your activity. It becomes a part of you.
Next goal for the team is to control the robotic arm with brain activity. That would mean attaching an EEG headband to the drummer and let him control the artificial arm just like his natural arms.
Other uses for this technology would be in the field of surgery or in manufacturing to equip workers with an extra arm. Pretty interesting I must add.